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Ghana's oldest club Hearts of Oak are in CRISIS, facing relegation for the first time in 113 years


14 days ago
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One of Ghana's most recognisable clubs - Hearts of Oak, are in a DEEP mess and plunged into chao, with the fear of relegation starring at the oldest Ghanaian club for the first time in their 113-year history.

The Phobians could be consigned to the second-tier of Ghanaian football if they fail to win their remaining two matches in the Premier League.

There will be no ifs and buts if the former African champions fail to grind out positive results against sworn city rivals, Accra Great Olympics on Sunday June 9, 2024 and Bechem United to wrap up what has been a tumultuous campaign for the Ghanaian giants.

In doing so, Hearts of Oak will require the help of other clubs, especially Medeama SC,  to do them a huge favour by beating Karela United on the final day of the Premier League.

But given that Medeama are also vulnerable at home after losing 0-1 against fellow relegation battlers Heart of Lions on Sunday, the Phobians are certainly not out of the woods amid trepidation among their teeming fans.

Hearts, locked on 41 points from 32 games, need at least SIX POINTS to secure another top-flight football - and those two crunch games are against city rivals Great Olympics in Accra and Bechem United at the Nana Gyeabour park.

Anything short of the maximum points in the remaining two matches could prove detrimental in their fight to avoid the sensational drop to Ghana's second-tier league.

Among the teams deeply involved in the relegation dog-fight, Hearts of Oak have the most difficult task of scaling the wall to safety as they will need to pull the chestnut out of the blazing fire to beat Great Olympics- a team they have failed woefully to outsmart in recent years.

The dynamics are quite simple; If Karela United, who lie a point behind Hearts of Oak on 40, win their next two games against Samartex and Medeama, and Hearts fail to do same, they will be RELEGATED, given the prospects that Dreams FC, Heart of Lions, Bibiani GoldStars FC and Asante Kotoko have a better chance of escaping the drop.

If Great Olympics win their outstanding match against Dreams FC in Accra on Wednesday June 5, 2024, they will move a point above the Phobians ahead of the explosive clash of the two teams at the Accra Sports Stadium - in a match that will determine the fate of Hearts of Oak's history in the Ghanaian elite division - dating back to 1922 when football league started and 1993 when professional football league commenced.

Hearts of Oak are truly a remarkable club, because they have spent a century punching above their weight but they have been far from convincing in recent years despite clinching the double- the Premier League title and the FA Cup under Samuel Boadu in the 2021-22 season.

For a club that supplied Ghana's squad for the  2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Nigeria in 2001, the team's precarious situation ahs subdued the fans and sympathizers alike in what has been an unflattering campaign.

If Hearts are unable to beat the drop, they will join an exclusive list of A-rated teams around the world who have suffered the agony of relegation.

Throughout history, many top clubs around the world have faced the challenge of dropping down a division or two with 111-year-old Brazilian side Santos, the latest to suffer such fate.

Bayern Munich, a dominant force in Germany, experienced a brief relegation in 1955 before returning to the top flight.

Similarly, Sampdoria, Monaco, Schalke, and other prestigious clubs have encountered relegation woes, highlighting the unpredictable nature of football.

From Marseille’s controversial demotion to Sevilla’s resilience in bouncing back, the history of football is replete with instances of clubs facing the harsh reality of relegation.

It goes to show that no matter the stature or reputation of a club, the threat of relegation is ever-present, adding drama and intrigue to the beautiful game.

Hearts of Oak are squarely in the saddle and will need to punch above their weight to escape relegation from Ghana's second-tier league.

About Hearts of Oak

Accra Hearts of Oak Sporting Club Limited commonly referred to as Hearts has a proud history dating back to 1911 and a strong reputation within the African and world football community. The club is one of 18 teams that participate in the Ghana Premier League.

The club has, since 1911, been a source of livelihood for many young talents in the country. It has trained many players, some of whom were as young as 15 years to become great stars either locally or abroad. It continues employing the youth and is currently in the process of putting up a hostel facility to train more youth for the future. Hearts of Oak won its first major trophy in 1922 when Sir Gordon Guggisberg, then the Governor of the Gold Coast, founded the Accra Football League.

Hearts won 6 out of 12 in this league. In 1956, Hearts joined the Ghanaian football League, now Ghana Premier League, and has flourished ever since. In the year 2000, Hearts of Oak won the Ghana FA Cup, the Ghana Premier League, and the CAF Champions League Cup. Sir Cecil Jones Attuquayefio remains Hearts' most celebrated coach after he led the club to win the CAF Champions League in 2000, CAF Super Cup in 2001, and the CAF Confederations Cup in 2004.

The club was formed by a group of young men led by Christopher Brandford Nettey, a war leader of the Ga Colonial era. His other colleagues were the Simon Okraku brothers (Adolf, Alfred, and Wilhelm), J.T.O Ankrah, J.A Aryee, Dodoo Annang, Darku Abbey, Mark Nettey, the Simon duo, the Bruce Tagoe brothers, Willie Ocran, T.F Wilson, J.D.K Botwe, F.D Amoo, Peter Malm, Quashie Coker and Akom Duncan.

source: Ghanasoccernet